Nathan Bennett was always going to be an artist. He has an early memory of being enamored with the colors of the sunset. Bennett’s father told him that one day he would be talented enough to paint something so beautiful. Sure enough, he received two university scholarships while in high school to go and pursue his dreams. He was never a fan of formal schooling, however, so Bennett went to work instead. He obtained a job working at the Wasatch Bronze foundry and learned the process of casting bronze art from start to finish. His talent was immediately recognizable and he was quickly given the keys to the foundry, where one could often find him late at night working in the patina room.
Patina is Bennett’s medium of choice. He works with materials straight from the earth, combining iron, copper nitrate, silver, titanum dioxide, cobalt and more with fire. The fire from his handheld torch infuses the chemicals onto bronze, merging the compounds with the metal. In ancient times he may have been called an alchemist, sorcerer or magician. Patina has been around for centuries, its secrets carefully held and shared between artists over thousands of years. Today, Bennett can lay legitimate claim to being the only painter in the world working with patinas on bronze plates. Bennett makes beautiful art from that which is taken from the innermost parts of our planet. A master of his medium, bronze sculptors are constantly at his studio door waiting for Bennett to apply his magic to their three-dimensional sculptures. It is in his own two-dimensional creations that an ancient art is given new life. With decades of practice, Bennett literally has his artform down to a science.
Through every carefully orchestrated chemical reaction Bennett finds his expression as an artist. He says, “I create images that best capture my inner workings.” He can regal his viewers with many layers of hidden meanings and stories behind each of his pieces. Much of his art is created in silhouette, whether it be his depiction of a forest or a figure. Bennett paints with the intent of conveying a message. He says, “You can’t see the light without the dark. Mostly, what I paint is hope.”